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Winnipeg woman petitions to give Barbie a Cree makeover

Click to play video 'Local filmmaker hopes to inspire a Cree Barbie' Local filmmaker hopes to inspire a Cree Barbie
WATCH: Sonya Ballantyne has started a petition to have Mattel make an Indigenous Barbie - one that has a specific nation, in this case, Cree – Jan 16, 2019

A local Cree woman who’s using her newfound title as one of Mattel’s female role models for 2019 is hoping to inspire a new type of Barbie.

“When they contacted me and said ‘hey we want to make you a role model’ that really blew my mind, because Barbies we’re such a big part of my childhood,” said Sonya Ballantyne.

“I originally thought it was going to be for a commercial because I’m a filmmaker,” Ballantyne said.

READ MORE: Barbie turns 58: Little-known facts about the iconic doll

After telling family and friends she was chosen, people began asking when a Cree Barbie would be made of her.

“When I was visiting schools, a lot of the little girls were like ‘when can we get your Barbie?’, and saying things like ‘I really want a Barbie that looks like you’.

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“There were a few people contacting me saying ‘I really want a Barbie, a native Barbie that looks like her because she looks like my daughter’.”

Ballantyne started a petition in hopes of having a Cree doll made.

A Manitoba filmmaker has started a petition with a goal of encouraging Mattel to create a Cree Barbie. Change.org

“The reason I started the petition was because I wanted to have a Native barbie that actually had a nation,” Ballantyne said.

“They’re always generically Native Barbies and I always wanted them to have one that said this is a Cree Barbie, this is a Navahoe Barbie, this one is an Ojibway…”

READ MORE: Cree app launched to help preserve indigenous language

In a statement to Global News, Mattel said “Barbie continues to honor a diverse group of role models who break boundaries to inspire the next generation of girls.

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“We are proud to partner with Sonya and share her message. Barbie continues to evolve and currently offers the most diverse doll line on the market.”